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I think we may be ignoring something here, something I call techwriting's
dirty little secret: Readers of what we write don't usually _want_ to read
it. They're only doing it because the need an answer so they can get back to
their _real_ job. That being the case, if metadiscourse helps them find the
answer to their question faster than introductory content, then it better
serves our readers.
For example, the question in my mind is "How do I calibrate my
veeblefetzer?" Introductory content along the lines of "Your veeblefetzer,
when calibrated properly, is a highly useful device" doesn't tell me clearly
if the answer I seek is here, or elsewhere. The metadiscourse "This section
shows how to calibrate your veeblefetzer" tells me right off that what I
want to know is in this section.
I certainly don't want to have it be an either/or proposition, in any event.
Effective introductions should provide both metatext and content.Roy M.
Great Plains Software
rjacobse -at- gps -dot- com
You've no idea what a poor opinion I have of myself, and how little I
deserve it. -- W.S. Gilbert